Review: Ventanas opens eyes wide to vibrant flamenco culture

Ventanas dancer Alexandra Talbot during one of her band
Ventanas dancer Alexandra Talbot during one of her band's sizzling numbers Thursday in the Duncan Showroom.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

A musically memorable trip to Euro-flamenco countries was staged by Ventanas during its Duncan Showroom debut Thursday.

The six-piece, Toronto-based troupe imported a suite of songs and dances drenched in cultures covering Kosovo, Greece, and Turkey to Lebanaon that got audience members dancing with performer Alexandra Talbot.

The lively night also heard songs sung by dancer Tamar Ilana backed by Demetrios Petsalakis on Greek outi, flamenco guitarist Dennis Duffin, percussionist Derek Gray, and violinist Jessica Hana Deutsch.

Flourishes of skirts and stomping of feet in flamenco style, by Talbot and Ilana, delighted viewers, some of whom rightly wondered why other Cowichanians weren't in the Showroom for this mid-summer multi-cultural treat.

Valley voice teacher and actress Lara Cardriver wondered how Ilana sustained her voice through the demanding show.

"The tone is very pure and straight for long, long, long notes; it's very difficult to do," Cardriver said of Ilana's polished pipes.

"Some of it's a very different note scale than we use — that was a lot of singing tonight."

Numbers served by Ventanas ('windows' in Spanish) included Gusta Mi Masla (Kosovo), Tha Spaso Kupes (Greece), La Cana (flamenco), Una Hora en la Ventana (Sephardic, Turkey), Dedo Mili (Macedonia), and Asfur (Arabic, Lebanon).

When Ventanas next returns to Cowichan, put them on your must-see list — no passport needed.

Flamenco-music concert rating: 9 nations out of 10.

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